PopCap co-founder deflects job loss vitriol from EA

The co-founder of PopCap has insisted that the job losses at his studio would have been considerably worse if it did not have the backing of EA.

It was reported overnight that a number of jobs have been lost at the developer, backing up rumours that have been circulating in industry circles for some weeks.

However, PopCap co-founder John Vechey has perhaps surprisingly moved to defend owner EA, saying that if it were not for its buyout at the hands of the publisher last year the job losses would have likely been far worse.

One year ago, we decided to integrate PopCap with EA. I know I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else right now,” he insisted.

EA has provided a lot of resources for us to grow and allowed us to operate as an independent studio. I’ve seen speculation that EA is no longer letting PopCap run independently, and that’s simply not true. The founders, CEO, and executives who were in charge of PopCap still are. The decision to reorganize was 100 per cent made by us, with no pressure from EA.

EA has a diverse business with games on consoles, PCs and practically every other platform under the sun. We’re glad to have those resources supporting us when a lot of other independent studios are struggling. In addition, some of the people affected by the reorganization may be retrained and reassigned to other jobs in the EA studios.

If we didn’t have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse.”

The bulk of the job losses will affect PopCap’s Seattle office. The fate of the Dublin office is currently being evaluated”, with the decision hanging on whether a path to improve our profitability in Europe without having to close the operation” can be thrashed out.

There’s also an economic component to the reorganisation,” Vechey added. To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit. We’ve been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business.

That business is challenged, and if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to invest in new IP. That sounds harsh – but if we don’t stay in business, no more plants, zombies, jewels, frogs or worms.”

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